To Volunteer for the ’08 Ralph Nader campaign

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24 Responses to “To Volunteer for the ’08 Ralph Nader campaign”

  1. mad dog Says:

    If Ron is gone before the convention, I would be happy to assist Nader again, as I did in 2000. Actually, all I did was vote for him, but this time, I would see if there is something more substantial. The great thing about Nader is that he is far more informed and rational than anyone else on the left, even at his age.

  2. mad dog Says:

    You might like this: http://www.amconmag.com/2004_11_08/cover2.html

  3. briankoontz Says:

    At his age? Ron Paul is only a year and a half younger you know.

    The only thing I don’t like about Nader is that he’s a bit TOO focused on corporations. Yes, they are terrible institutions, but it’s a big world out there and sometimes Nader has tunnel-vision. Tunnel-vision is great for activists but not so great for presidential candidates.

  4. briankoontz Says:

    Your link illustrates something that I covered quite a while ago on the blog – that there is a new paradigm in American politics. It used to be conservative/liberal and now it’s neoconservative/everybody else. In the neoconservative camp are the warmongers and a substantial section of corporate america (especially big and multinational corporations).

    So conservatives, that is to say true conservatives, they of the prudish sexuality and the tight-fisted pocket-book and the large savings account are now in a kind of alliance with the left. In politics strange bedfellows are not strange at all. I far prefer conservatives to libertarian rightists, because conservatives (the smart ones anyway) are absolutely incompatible with the neocons. their positions are completely separate. Much like the left, I find many conservatives to be extremely sane people.

    I’ve been telling people for years (well, 4 years anyway) that the Neocons (and their allies) are the real enemy in America. If you’re not a Neocon and not their ally then you need to be opposing them. Oppose them until you depose them.

    The conservatives should be incredibly angry that the Neocons coopted the Republican Party. I say, have the left take them under their wing! That can be just the boost the left needs.

  5. mad dog Says:

    I am certainly not critical of Nader’s age, especially considering that he still seems quite sharp. At 74, he is still 2 years younger than Reagan was when he was reelected. I think that if Reagan can be elected at the age of 76, Nader can be elected at the age of 74. What I find funny is that all my favorites seem to be long in the tooth. This includes Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Mike Gravel. Although, Kucinich is not quite yet as old as the other three, but I still like him.

    Regarding conservatives, I think that you will find that Ron Paul has many of the best and sanest aspects of conservatism, but also has some of the more positive aspects of the left.

    As long as the Republicans take McCain and Romney seriously, it seems like that this country will have quite a long way to go. To think that a measly 8 years ago, they wanted to reduce, not increase war.

  6. briankoontz Says:

    Well, I don’t think it’s funny at all. It’s the Baby Boomers who are the Neoconservatives, and the monsters they spawned. It’s that kind of self-centered ideology. That’s the reason that most of the relatively good politicians are old. That’s the reason that people of my generation, and some somewhat younger, hate our parents.

    Barack Obama, for example, Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush, these people have less character than previous politicians. They are a lower grade of human being. There’s a kind of hideous cynicism in them that goes way beyond what was found in previous politicians.

    We are arriving at a point in history when it’s not just that the elite seek to profit, it’s that they are pathological. They have zero concern for anyone but themselves.

    That’s what is so tragic and so terrible about the Neoconservatives. It’s not the ideology, which is merely misguided. It’s the utter and absolute cynicism and self-centeredness at the heart of the Neoconservative project.

    In earlier times, the elite would never have let the effects of Hurricane Katrina happen. Now they just don’t care, at all. They only care, or rather only pretend to care, insofar as it serves their purposes. The Neoconservatives may well be anti-human.

    The Rapture is a good metaphor for the Neoconservative project. It ties in to disaster capitalism as well as the religious right, both aspects of the Neocon alliance. In the Rapture the “chosen ones” are saved, and everyone else dies a hellish death. In the Neoconservative project the “chosen ones” are the wealthy, their wealth proves their morality, and their wealth (per extreme privatization) allows them to save themselves from the ravages of global warming, or hurricanes, or collapsing bridges, or terrorist attacks, or anything else. For the poor people of New Orleans to die is not even unfortunate, it’s *justice*. That is to say, their poverty proved their immorality which made their deaths a good thing. “They had it coming”. Divine justice. Divine retribution.

    Take a look at racism in America. America is filled with racists. It’s absolutely crawling with them. Mostly against blacks and hispanics, as they are the socially weak groups. Yet 95% of the racists in America claim they are anything *but* racist, and most of them who claim that actually believe it! They are so terrified of being labeled “racist” they they have deluded themselves into believing they’re not!

    But the problem is, delusion doesn’t create reality – and someone who can’t face who he really is can never *change* who he is. Therefore, the demonization of racists in America is actually *preventing* an end to racism!

    We have AAA meetings where people get up and say “I’m an alcoholic”. The reason for that is that we’ve deemed alcoholism to be bad. The reason we don’t have meetings where people stand up and say “I’m a racist” is that we’ve deemed racism to be good. The best way to promote the existence of anything is to make it a taboo. That’s why protestants sit in their chairs and masturbate to porn. Oh, so naughty! You’re such a bad boy!

    So all of these people who are racists but claim to not be racists were more than delighted to have the combined efforts of a hurricane and governmental pathology kill thousands of blacks, render tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) into poverty or deeper poverty and displace countless more. These very same people made sure they told their neighbors that they were “giving to the Hurricane Katrina fund”.

    And these very same pathetic racists when they see Michael Richards or Mel Gibson err, to actually *speak* the racism that they feel instead of hiding it like everyone else does, jump all over them like some kind of avenging angels stomping out evil.

    America doesn’t want to end racism. If it did Americans would start taking a look in the mirror.

  7. mad dog Says:

    Well, yes, I would agree that there is at least a noteworthy amount of racism in America. And if you are saying what I think you are saying, meaning that some of the anti-racists are racists themselves, I will say it is because that those who wish to fight racism have pursued incredibly flawed solutions. I theorize that their solutions have made things worse.

    Instead of telling people to see others as fellow human beings, they tell each other to judge a person by what group they are in. For example, they might tell their children that they should not say certain things to black people, that they must sympathize for someone because they happen to be black. From what I have seen, it has grown so extensive over the years that many whites are afraid of even disagreeing with a black person, especially in regards to certain topics.

    It seems to me that this building up of fear can eventually lead to more racism. Racism itself is a product of fear, whether it be the variety that the old southerners had, or the kind that modern, well-to-do whites have, in fear of being offensive, or having the dreaded label “bigot”.

  8. briankoontz Says:

    Everyone should be recognized with respect to their race, gender, class, etc. I don’t understand what it means to “judge” them based on it. Everyone should be evaluated based on their reality, which is influenced by all of their specifics. As far as what you’re describing in your middle paragraph, that’s just fear. They aren’t afraid of disagreeing with a black person, they are afraid of having their racism brought to light. They are closet racists who don’t want to step out of the closet. It’s the same as a closet gay who doesn’t want to talk to gays because he might be outed. It’s the reason for homophobia.

    The “fellow human beings” argument is usually just a way to whitewash race and ignore the impact of race and racism.

  9. mad dog Says:

    I think your first sentence goes against what some of the activists and radicals in the past had said. I think it runs right in the face of “I look forward to the day when my small children are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.

    For example, suppose I were a black man, who has had some bad experience with some white people here and there (like police officers for example). If you happened to be white, would you not want me to judge you for the things you do and the things that you believe, rather than the fact that you would be white? Would you rather not be judged as Brian Koontz, and not as ‘just some white guy’?

  10. briankoontz Says:

    Both you and Martin Luther King are wrong on this issue.

    For one thing, the “content of their character” is itself determined largely by circumstance. Character is not some magical thing controlled by humans anymore than their race is, or gender, or class. For example, I’ve been called and/or considered a “troublemaker” many times. Given the condition of the world today, I’m a “troublemaker”. In a better world I might be a “fully status-quo-supporting citizen”. My character has little to do with me and much more to do with my relationship to the world. The idea behind Martin Luther King’s words is to say that blacks are worthy of respect, worthy of not being oppressed. While he’s right, he used a false reference to illustrate that. The idea is that blacks should develop “good character” and then be respected. This idea led to the destruction of blacks through drugs (fueled by the CIA), hence destroying their character, hence allowing them to be disrespected, which translates into terror and oppression.

    Part of what Brian Koontz is is “white guy”. Part of what Martin Luther King is is “black guy”. The whitewashing effect and covert racism inherent in “fellow human beings” is to try to ignore race and by extension ignore racism. If we are all “fellow human beings” then there is no such thing as race and no such thing as racism.

  11. mad dog Says:

    No, he was not demanding that blacks develop good character. He meant that a white person should judge a black person like they would their fellow white person. He also meant that a black person should judge a white person the same way in which he would judge a black person.

    What Martin and I only wanted is for people to be respected as individuals. That is the opposite of racism and bigotry. To judge someone for their skin color IS racism.

  12. briankoontz Says:

    One needs to see, recognize, and understand skin color and how it factors into identity and social relations.

    Whites and blacks should not be judged the same way, just like females and males are not judged the same way, just like engineers and accountants are not judged the same way. Differences between humans are important.

    The idea behind “color blindness” is to whitewash the issues of race and racism. It’s part of the white supremacy project to eliminate race and racism in the consciousness of humans, thus allowing for perpetual oppression of blacks and any other social group that happens to fall into similar circumstances.

  13. mad dog Says:

    “Whites and blacks should not be judged the same way,”

    Then you are an advocate for racism.

    “just like females and males are not judged the same way,”

    Then you are an advocate for sexism.

    “just like engineers and accountants are not judged the same way. ”

    A person became an accountant or an engineer out of his/her own efforts, based on decisions that the person made throughout life. Judging someone for their profession can be considered legitimate, because a person makes those choices for what is relevant, what is INSIDE the person.

    “Differences between humans are important.”

    Only if they are noteworthy, like if a person chooses to be an artist, or a doctor, or a drug addict. These things are caused by intelligence level, abilities, emotions and personality. A person’s skin color only defines how they LOOK. To judge someone in such a manner is superficial, not to mention, willfully ignorant.

  14. briankoontz Says:

    You’re speaking nonsense. There is no difference between two people that should be ignored on the basis of a whitewashing project that attempts to eliminate race and sex in order to remove racism and sexism from the consciousness of humans. Color blindness is just another form of blindness, and a rather ridiculous one since it’s self-willed.

    You’re wrong about the accountant and the engineer. A person’s job is a result of an interplay of countless factors, social, financial, really every aspect of identity. Those aspects of identity are not accurately described as “inside the person”.

    “A person’s skin color only defines how they LOOK”.

    That’s such a pathetic statement. Why don’t you start talking to black people about whether or not their blackness only defines how they look.

  15. mad dog Says:

    “Color blindness is just another form of blindness, and a rather ridiculous one since it’s self-willed.”

    Color blindness is the opposite of racism.

    ““A person’s skin color only defines how they LOOK”.

    That’s such a pathetic statement. ”

    No, that is a truthful statement. There are black poor people. Thre are white poor people. There are black middle class people. There are white middle class people. There are black rich people. There are white rich people. The fact of the matter is, is that black rich people have more in common with white rich people than they do with black poor people. All of the differences you find are caused by how much money the person has, as well as education and upbringing, more than anything else.

    In other words, the differences are caused by externalities more than anything else. A white kid brought up in the ghetto will act like the black kids around him. A black kid brought up in Beverly Hills will act like the white kids around him.

  16. briankoontz Says:

    Just because class matters more in some respects than race doesn’t mean that race doesn’t exist or is irrelevant. A rich black person is often treated badly due to his race (at least in America). The KKK was not class-discriminatory.

    Many of those “externalities” are a function of race. If a white is chosen for a job, or a job promotion, over a black due to his race, he gets richer and the black gets poorer (either relatively or absolutely).

    But let’s say he gets by that hurdle and gets the job. Now he’s treated badly by the whites, is made to feel uncomfortable, and quits. Now he starts the same cycle all over again.

    When an entire *race* is treated badly by the dominant power structure, that has a tremendous cumulative effect. It’s an effect that is separate from class.

    There are all kinds of other factors besides class and race even. Culture is a major factor. During the 1960s for example, many employers wouldn’t hire people with long hair, since they were supposed to be “dirty hippies”. Ugly people aren’t hired nearly as readily as attractive people in many jobs. Old people aren’t hired nearly as readily as young people in many jobs.

    I often stress class because it’s completely ignored (by design) by the mainstream media, as opposed to race and gender which are relatively overcovered. But race and gender are still very important, as is age, and attractiveness, and culture.

  17. mad dog Says:

    Most of the issues you brought up occured decades ago. This is the year 2008. People are much different now. I have long hair, but I also have a pretty decent job. If you go to California and New York, lots of rich people have long hair. Statistics show that black people have made tremendous gains. The KKK is barely noticable these days.

    Anyway, I will continue to judge people on their own merits.

  18. briankoontz Says:

    Good luck with that. It’s quite challenging to determine someone’s merits.

  19. mad dog Says:

    I know, but that IS the right way to judge a person. You do your best with the information available. If someone proves him or her self to be an honest, caring person, recognize them for that. If they are cruel or manipulative, take note of that too. Sometimes, certain qualities take longer to detect. If you are unsure of someone, just do what you can.

    I will let you know that there have been many people who have surprised me throughout my life.

  20. briankoontz Says:

    I find it to be nearly impossible to judge anyone at least on the basis of character. Character is usually far too deep a human trait to be accurately assessed.

  21. mad dog Says:

    If somone bashed you in the head with a pipe, would you not judge them differently?

  22. briankoontz Says:

    Assuming I wasn’t previously aware that they might bash me in the head with a pipe, I would add that piece of information to the situation, much like adding another piece to the puzzle.

  23. mad dog Says:

    Okay, there you go. Judge them on what you have seen so far. And for people I know nothing about or just met, I don’t judge them.

  24. briankoontz Says:

    I said I would add that piece to the puzzle. That’s nothing like “judging them on what you have seen so far”. Judging them assumes one has already completed the puzzle.

    I act based on the pieces of the puzzle I have, but that’s not judgment.

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